This is Part I of a three-part series discussing unexpected situations that could arise during your internship and how to persevere and handle them professionally.
You know the two sure things in life are death and taxes, but might I add a third? You won’t get along with everyone you meet.
What if one of the people you clash with in your life happens to be your internship supervisor?
Whether you’ve got a boss who’s a micromanager, an intimidator, a downer or a person generally difficult to work with, here are a few things to remember when you feel your patience waning.
1. Always show respect
No one says you have to like your boss, but you do have to show him or her respect. Do the work they assign to the best of your ability and do it their way. If you have a disagreement, address your boss politely (remember “I” versus “you” statements). Creating a personnel problem by being insubordinate will be counterproductive for the entire workplace.
2. Remember that you are temporary
You can do anything for 10 or 12 weeks, so keep your internship in perspective. You won’t be in this situation the rest of your life. Feed off aspects of your internship that can really benefit you; grit your teeth and bear the aspects that aren’t ideal.
It takes two to tango. If there’s a problem, take a step back and make sure your own behavior isn’t fanning the flames. See if you can adjust your own work style to better mesh with your boss.
4. Focus on your work
You weren’t hired because your boss was looking for a new “BFF.” You were hired to do a job. Try not to dwell on your relationship with your boss and, instead, spend your energy knocking your work out of the park.
If a problem with your supervisor is impacting productivity, see if you can sit down and talk with him or her about it directly. If you are still running into a roadblock, consult with someone in human resources, if that’s an option. The worst thing you can do is start a gossip trail with your co-workers.
Look for Part II in the coming days, where we’ll discuss how to respond to the assignment of menial or unpleasant tasks.